Pickling solution (makes 1.5L)
250ml distilled vinegar
500ml Siúcra caster sugar
Dill sprigs or fennel fronds
Your own personal combination of dried spices –– we used star anise, coriander seed, cumin seed, black mustard seeds
1. First, wash your desired jars in hot, soapy water and pop upturned on a baking sheet and place in a warm oven (150ºC) for 10 minutes or so. Be careful, they will be very hot when they come out, allow to cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, prepare your brine as explained in the introduction above –– mix the vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer just so the sugar dissolves, then allow to cool until you use.
3. Using a mandolin, or taking your time to slice uniformly, prepare your vegetables, however way you want to. You can do long ribbons of courgette, thick slices of red onion, radish halves, roughly chopped fennel, batons of carrot –– whatever way you prefer, just make sure for each vegetable you’re cutting its parts into similar sizes.
4. Add some aromatics, this really amps up the flavour of the preserved vegetables. For the carrot, we added 1 tsp each of whole cumin seeds, coriander seeds and black mustard seeds. For the radish, we sliced two garlic cloves and added to the pink-bordered rounds. We added a little star anise to the red onion for a light hit of anise, which pairs well with allium. Make it your own, with whatever you have, whether you want the woody herbiness of bay or the sweet pungency of whole, cracked cardamom pods.
5. Make sure you fill the jars to the top, and press down on the vegetables to ensure you cant get any more in, then carefully pour in your brine mixture (using a funnel here is handy) until it get to the top of the jar. Air is the enemy here, so eliminate as much air as you can, then pop the lid on and store.
For more recipe inspiration, follow GastroGays on Instagram:@gastrogays
Baking for Christmas is always something special. This is the one safe haven that always seems to cling to tradition. But perhaps you would like to try something different for a change… you might find yourself a new favourite goodie this year!
For many, Christmas wouldn't be complete without sweet treats. Put out homemade toffees, chocolates and truffles for everyone to enjoy. Whether you want the most classic Christmas treats or more advanced alternatives, we've got the recipe.
The Christmas holiday provides many opportunities to get together and mingle with a pleasant drink in the hand. A few suggestions for Christmas celebrations big and small.
Certain things should never be left off the Christmas dinner table – and you will also find many new, exciting dishes here!
Midwinter is redolent of oranges and spices – fragrances evoking images of countries less dark and cold than our northern climes. After Christmas dinner, it’s nice to serve something refreshing like an orange salad or citrus ice cream.